Bradford City 1 Oxford United 0: Bantams’ play-off place ‘far from certain’, says Stuart McCall

Bradford City manager Stuart McCall (Picture: Bruce Rollinson).
Bradford City manager Stuart McCall (Picture: Bruce Rollinson).
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FOURTH-PLACED Bradford City remain six points clear in the League One play-off positions with three games left following a tense home win over Oxford United.

But manager Stuart McCall insists their place in the playoffs is “far from certain”.

It was Bradford’s fourth home win in a row and their sixth win in eight matches.

However, with all their play-off rivals also winning, McCall said: “Our play-off place is not guaranteed.

“We have a lot of work to do. We must keep winning games.

“We gave the players a target of 74 points, but now we have 75 and we still need more points.”

We gave the players a target of 74 points, but now we have 75 and we still need more points.

Bradford City manager, Stuart McCall

Bradford, who were pressed all the way by hardworking, attack-minded Oxford, scored the all-important goal in the 59th minute.

Charlie Wyke headed down Mark Marshall’s left-wing cross for the unmarked Nicky Law to score from close range.

However, Oxford twice went close to scoring after that with midfield player Conor McAleny, on loan from Everton, forcing diving saves from home goalkeeper Colin Doyle in the 73rd and 76th minutes as the visitors made a determined bid for an equaliser.

Bradford almost gained the lead in the first half, goalkeeper Simon Eastwood, who had a season at Valley Parade in McCall’s first spell as manager, turning defender Nathaniel Knight-Percival’s far-post header away for a corner, but Oxford also had their chances without troubling Doyle.

The Bantams began the second half brightly with Wyke seeing his close-range header blocked on the line by Eastwood before going in front

And Wyke almost increased their lead in the 66th minute, turning sharply before delivering a superb, angled shot, which Eastwood did well to turn away for a corner.

The result enabled Bradford to avenge two defeats at Oxford earlier in the season – 1-0 in the League and 2-1 in the Checkatrade Trophy – and McCall said: “This was a big win for us because Oxford gave us a really tough game, which we knew they would do.

“However, we have no time to enjoy it because it is all about preparing for our visit to leaders Sheffield United on Monday.”

Bradford City: Doyle, McMahon, McArdle, Knight-Percival, Meredith, Marshall (Clarke 89), Vincelot, Cullen, Law (Deng 72), Wyke, Hiwula (Darby 83). Unused substitutes: Sattelmaier, Toner, Jones, Devine.

Oxford United: Eastwood, Ribeiro (Edwards 84), Skarz, Lundstram, Nelson, Maguire (Hall 80), McAleny, Ruffels, Rothwell (Hemmings 75), Raglan, Johnson. Unused substitutes: Stevens, Long, Dunkley, Carroll.

Referee: Richard Clark (Northumberland)